This blog contains experience gained over the years of implementing (and de-implementing) large scale IT applications/software.

IBM WebSphere 6.1.0 GUI Install on RHEL 4.5

If you have been given the opportunity to install IBM WebSphere 6.1.0 on RedHat Enterprise Linux 4.5, then you may be wondering why you can’t get the GUI installer to launch using the X-Windows terminal you’ve painstakingly enabled.

Well, the answer is simple; unless you are on the console, then you can’t.  That is, you must be on DISPLAY “:0.0”.
If your sys admin is denying you access, or it’s a VM and you’re not allowed console access, then you’re also stuck.

The only other solution is to use the response files provided in the install directory of the installation media.
Customise the response file and then run the install.sh in silent mode.
There is a very helpful IBM help page on how to do all of this here: https://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/wasinfo/v6r1/topic/com.ibm.websphere.base.doc/info/aes/ae/tins_runSilent.html

Good luck.

ps. It presents a more systematic, repeatable approach to installing an environment if you use response files.  No mistakes, same every time.
What’s more, you can also silently install the “UpdateInstaller” and also the FixPacks.

Android 2.1 Calendar Sync Force Close

I have an Android 2.1 phone (an Acer Liquid A1) which recently started throwing an error during the calendar sync.  It kept showing a “force close” error.

I got my laptop setup to connect to the phone using the Acer Liquid Tool (USB drivers) and the Malez recovery software, which includes the ADB debugging software.
After connecting the phone via USB and running ADB logcat, I was able to get the following error from the phone when I sync’d the calendar:

W/dalvikvm(  823): threadid=15: thread exiting with uncaught exception (group=0x2aac6160)
E/AndroidRuntime(  823): Uncaught handler: thread SyncThread exiting due to uncaught exception
E/AndroidRuntime(  823): java.lang.NullPointerException
E/AndroidRuntime(  823):        at com.android.providers.calendar.CalendarSyncAdapter.fetchCalendarsFromServer(CalendarSyncAdapter.java:1622)
E/AndroidRuntime(  823):        at com.android.providers.calendar.CalendarSyncAdapter.getServerDiffs(CalendarSyncAdapter.java:1223)
E/AndroidRuntime(  823):        at android.content.TempProviderSyncAdapter$SyncThread.runSyncLoop(TempProviderSyncAdapter.java:367)
E/AndroidRuntime(  823):        at android.content.TempProviderSyncAdapter$SyncThread.sync(TempProviderSyncAdapter.java:287)
E/AndroidRuntime(  823):        at android.content.TempProviderSyncAdapter$SyncThread.run(TempProviderSyncAdapter.java:218)

After an awful lot of Googling, I still had no answer.
It looks like the 2.1 version of Android supplied by Acer, has a flaw that prevents it working properly with some new Google calendar feature.
I don’t know what the problem is.
Instead, to solve the problem, I flashed the ROM back to stock Acer Android 1.6.
The calendar then worked again properly, however, I had lost an awful lot of good functionality (Facebook integration, better Gmail & Android Market app versions etc etc).

So I tried another option.  I used a link on the Modaco forums for a hacked version of the Android 2.2 OS which was for the new Acer LiquidE (same phone hardware, but with 512MB of RAM instead of 256MB).
Someone has posted a version which had been enabled to run on my 256MB Acer Liquid (genius).

I flashed the 2.2 ROM onto the phone and the calendar now works again.

Despite the problem, this highlighted an area of short sightedness.  When/if the online Google apps are no longer supported or work on older Android versions, this will make the phones that use the older Android versions effectively worthless.  Who wants an Android phone with no cloud capability?

IBM MQ Error – AMQ6118: An internal WebSphere MQ error has occurred (20806013)

In the /var/mqm/errors/AMQERR*.LOG file the following error was visible:
11/01/11 16:20:23 – Process(1408.3) User(mqm) Program(amqrmppa_nd)
AMQ6118: An internal WebSphere MQ error has occurred (20806013)
EXPLANATION:
An error has been detected, and the MQ error recording routine has been called.
ACTION:
Use the standard facilities supplied with your system to record the problem
identifier, and to save the generated output files. Contact your IBM support
center.  Do not discard these files until the problem has been resolved.
There was an FDC file present also in the same directory.
It contained the following information header:
+—————————————————————————–+
|                                                                             |
| WebSphere MQ First Failure Symptom Report                                   |
| =========================================                                   |
|                                                                             |
| Date/Time         :- Tuesday November 01 14:52:07 GMT 2011                  |
| Host Name         :- xxxxxxxx (HP-UX B.11.23)                               |
| PIDS              :- 5724H7208                                              |
| LVLS              :- 6.0.1.0                                                |
| Product Long Name :- WebSphere MQ for HP-UX (Itanium platform)              |
| Vendor            :- IBM                                                    |
| Probe Id          :- XC028018                                               |
| Application Name  :- MQM                                                    |
| Component         :- xcsReleaseMutexSem                                     |
| SCCS Info         :- lib/cs/unix/generic/amqxlfmx.c, 1.147.1.1              |
| Line Number       :- 3229                                                   |
| Build Date        :- Oct 21 2005                                            |
| CMVC level        :- p600-100-051021                                        |
| Build Type        :- IKAP – (Production)                                    |
| UserID            :- 00002440 (mqm)                                         |
| Program Name      :- amqrmppa_nd                                            |
| Addressing mode   :- 64-bit                                                 |
| Process           :- 25271                                                  |
| Thread            :- 3                                                      |
| QueueManager      :- MQINTUX                                                |
| ConnId(1) IPCC    :- 26                                                     |
| Major Errorcode   :- xecL_E_NOT_OWNER                                       |
| Minor Errorcode   :- OK                                                     |
| Probe Type        :- INCORROUT                                              |
| Probe Severity    :- 2                                                      |
| Probe Description :- AMQ6125: An internal WebSphere MQ error has occurred.  |
| FDCSequenceNumber :- 0                                                      |
|                                                                             |
+—————————————————————————–+

Check the “Component” and “Major Errorcode” sections of the header.
I was seeing “xecL_E_NOT_OWNER” for the “xcsReleaseMutexSem” component.

This prompted me to check the semaphores (HP-UX) using command “ipcs -sa”.
I could see that there were some semaphores hanging around as the “mqm” user (shown in the header of the FDC file also).
So, clearing them as root and using “ipcrm -s” and the ID from the “ipcs -sa” command output, fixed the issue and prevented the need for a reboot.

The issue was caused by running MQ as the wrong UNIX user (it wasn’t supposed to be running as the mqm user in our environment).

Back once again (with the renegade master…)

Some hefty time off spent on the beach in the south of Italy (ah che bello) with the in-laws, has revealed a slight sun-tan and a new sense of purpose.
– Part III of my SAP Basic Performance Tuning Guide is nearly ready for posting.
– A new job opportunity has come my way.
– The VMWare test rig will be getting another hammering once I have got some post holiday chores out of the way (still can’t believe I got it working in 30 minutes!).

Bring on August!

Are you sure I’m not a consultant

I’d like to mention the growing (in my mind anyway) disparity between an operational support person and a consultant.
Having spent some time in contact with various recruitment agencies, I can understand how single words specified on a requirements brief from the client must be followed as accurately as possible.
The client, after all, wants the perfect candidate don’t they?!

I’ve worked on both sides of the coin you see.
I started off as an apprentice in an IT department in the late nineties.
Customer satisfaction is key when you’re in an IT department working the helpdesk.  Even if you’re second line (which infers a military comparison, doesn’t it? https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&biw=1385&bih=862&q=second+line+of+defence&aq=f&aqi=g7g-v2g-sv1&aql=f&oq=), you may be rated on your comms skills, how efficient you were and how accurate (first time fix).
So I can understand that supporting something that is already installed and working would be viewed as operational support and not consultancy.

I’ve also worked for a consultancy, quite a big one.  I wasn’t called a consultant, but if you work for a consultancy you must be? right?

But wait, doesn’t an internal IT department upgrade stuff?  performance tune?  generate ideas?
Are we saying that IT departments just do these things without talking to the business side.  I think not.  I remember many meetings where new ideas had been conceived in the IT department and were conveyed to the business.
Is this not consulting? Advising what would be best for the business and the technology.  I don’t know any IT department today that would contemplate changing anything without consulting with the business first.

So if we’re saying that IT departments do consult, the difference between a consultant and operational support must be in the *type* of consulting right?
You could argue that a consultant has more “soft” skills.  Um, like a salesman perhaps?
Or would you argue that a consultant may have broader knowledge.  Possibly.  More of a fish eye? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_of_all_trades,_master_of_none).
Hmm, I can’t see how this is different either.  You are either very good at these things (IT skills) or you’re not.
The only difference is when you consider a company wanting change, but not having the skills internally.  Wouldn’t that force them to use an external consultancy?  Someone *else* to consult with.

I think a “consultant” today is someone who has managed to escape the IT department.  He’s a free radical (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_(chemistry)).  But without the other elements he’s not got anything to bond with.  He’s able to offer unbounded ideas and generally gets the biggest budget (and sometimes some training), but he’s not able to evolve into anything more complex.  He came, he saw, he implemented, he left.  There’s a bigger side to this implementation lark, and it happens to be operational support!
Hurrah to the helpdesk operators, the backup tape changers and the email mailbox size limiting people (
https://www.winserverkb.com/Uwe/Forum.aspx/exchange-admin/5313/Why-limit-people-s-mailbox-size).

Some of the best, most talented people I’ve ever worked with have been working in operational support.  Fantastic, creative ideas ingeniously devised in the smallest of rooms at the eleventh hour (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eleventh_Hour) to stop the world ending (or the system from crashing) on a system that was implemented 20+ years ago.  How can these people not be consultants?  Maybe they’re too honest 😉